AmericanaFest 2018 - Saturday - Single Day
Sat · September 15, 2018
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pmMercy Lounge
This event is 18 and over
VALID GOV'T ISSUED PHOTO ID REQUIRED - NO EXCEPTIONS
8:00pm - Prinz Grizzley and his Beargaroos
9:00pm - Doug Seegers
10:00pm - Charley Crockett
11:00pm - Jackie Greene
The High Watt
7:30pm - Bones Owens
8:30pm - Jedd Hughes
9:30pm - Sarah Borges
10:30pm - Treetop Flyers
11:30pm - Cordovas
The more he dug, the more he returned, back home to rural feelings that bound him to his roots in western Austria.
Surrounded by rugged wild country, with god-loving, hardworking folk, whose simple living and gentle loving he finds an inspiration
for songs that might have been written across the ocean, in another land, way down south.
Influenced yet filtered and fed from the ground he now stands; his music has found its way -- based on inspirations and his life’s personal journeys.
The new album album ”Walking On the Edge of the World” proves once and for all that Seegers is not a one hit wonder but an accomplished singer, songwriter and performer. 9 of 12 songs are originals and the standard of the songwriting skills are unbelievably high. Listen to the title track ”Walking On the Edge of the World”, the Southern rockish ”Before the Crash” or the beautiful hymn ”Give It Away”. Songwriting and performing at its very best!
The two covers Doug Seegers included are ”Far Side Banks of Jordan” and ”Don’t Laugh at Me”. The former a country gospel previously recorded by Carter Family and Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash. Here we get it as a heart breaking duet with Emmylou Harris. “If I Were You” was written by Jim Lauderdale and performed as a duet with old friend Buddy Miller. ”Don’t Laugh at Me” was written by Mark Wills and it’s brought crowds all over Scandinavia into tears more than once.
In his songs, Seegers tells us about the reality he used to live in. And to a certain extent still do. Even if he’s no longer poor, he still lives a simple life and stays in touch with his old friends. He sings about an ex-girlfriend in ”Before the Crash”, about addiction in ”Zombie” and about reaching out a helping hand to your fellow man in ”Give It All Away”. The lyrics are not necessarily about himself but talks about people living in the outskirts of society. With love and empathy without getting sentimental and never judging.
Just like the first album ”Going Down To the River”, ”Walking On the Edge of the World” was recorded in Nashville and produced by Will Kimbrough. Seegers was backed by some of the best musicians Nashville has to offer; Al Perkins, Phil Madeira, Chris Donohue, Bryan Owings, Buddy Miller and Elizabeth Cook to mention a few.
The Doug Seegers fairy tale has been told several times already. A Cinderella story with all the classic ingredients and almost too good to be true. But the hobo-turned-into-star is the truth and nothing but the truth, swear to God.
No less amazing is how Seegers handled his new found fame. How he emerged as a professional, experienced artist with the ability to do his part on stage, in the recording studio, in interviews, radio- and TV- shows, signing records, as a songwriter – like it was all he ever done in his whole life. Everybody working close to him, constantly have to remind themselves that less than 3 years ago, Seegers was living under a bridge, battling addiction and playing his music on the streets to survive.
Even more astonishing is to see the everyday growth of Doug Seegers as a human being. For many years he lived a rough life, even though Doug himself doesn’t agree. Self pity is not his thing. But the life he used to live scarred him of course. His ability to remember thing was limited, to put it mildly. Off stage he could get restless and unfocused and he sometimes had a hard time dealing with the world outside the music. But the healing has begun. He’s improving every day. Doug is not an educated man, he probably skipped school most of the time. He rarely reads books, but he’s still a very intelligent man, picking up new things every day at the speed of a child, eager to learn.
Doug Seegers is deeply rooted in the musical traditions of the American South. A tradition where the bounders between country, soul, rock and blues are invisible or at least unclear. It’s easy to imagine Seegers writing songs with Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham in Muscle Shoals or with Chips Moman in Memphis. Songs that Aretha Franklin or Elvis Presley could have scored hits with. He could have been hanging out with Tony Joe White in Georgia or with Waylon and Willie in Nashville.
But that never happened. We know that for sure even if some parts of the Doug Seegers history still are a bit foggy. He had a band in New York in the seventies and they recorded a 7”, moved to Austin for a while in the eighties and played with Buddy Miller briefly, but apart from that he didn’t make much of a musical impression. Back in New York he worked as a carpenter and raised a family. Then there is a long period, a downward spiral including divorce, booze and drugs, ending up as a homeless in Nashville. Enter a TV team lead by Swedish stars Magnus Carlsson and Jill Johnson, both of them falling in love with Doug and his song “Going Down To The River” in the fall of 2013. At the same time Doug decided to get sober with the help of God. A few months later the show was broadcasted and thing never were the same again.
The “Going Down To The River” were an instant success and Doug now has Gold and Platinum album on the apartment wall back home in Nashville. He’s done several sold out tours in Sweden and has played many prestigious gigs in Europe and US. Doug has also recorded a duet album with Jill Johnson (”In Tandem”) and a Christmas album (”Let’s All Go Christmas Caroling Tonight”).
But despite all recordings and releases in recent years - ”Walking On the Edge of the World” is only the second solo album with original material by the 64 year old Doug Seegers. An unmistakable statement to any sceptics out there – Doug Seegers is here to stay!
The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for "Best Blues Act". A record "rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz," Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South. Crockett, who is described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Hank Williams, and Gary Clark Jr.
He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, in 2016 and played over 125 shows that year. “In the Night” and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing" and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called it "an impressive calling card, full of Crockett's plaintive soulfulness and swinging tempos" and others noted the artist as having "the well-rounded songwriting capabilities of Van Morrison and a vocal approach that finds common ground between Bill Withers and early Dr. John." Crockett graced the cover of Buddy Magazine in May 2016, who called him "the archetype of the new American vagabond."
In 2017, he spent the year building a devoted fan base across the country with his much talked about live show while selling out theaters in his native Texas and across the US. He remained on the road most of the year appearing at major festivals and venues.
In all this, he still found time to get back to Austin, Texas to record a collection of his favorite honky tonk songs called Charley Crockett presents Lil G.L.'s Honky Tonk Jubilee . The album features songs originally performed by Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce, and other great heroes of honky tonk. "Playing on the streets of New Orleans I heard traditional music all day long. Young folks were playing it everywhere. Old Time, Jug bands, Brass bands, Spirituals, drinkin ' songs, you name it. All you have to do to learn these songs is stand out in the street all day, but mind the whiskey” Crockett said. “I love this music. It’s the blues and it feels good to sing. A lot of folks are drawn to this sound even if they don't know why. It's the American struggle. It's got the kind of soul that's hard to find nowadays and all I know is you gotta get a lot of mud on you before you can make folks believe you when you sing these songs. There just ain't no fakin' it. I've lived these songs. I want to walk alongside and pay my respects to the artists and songwriters who went through so much to give us this music."
Now in 2018, Crockett releases Lonesome As A Shadow, an album of all original material recorded in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillip's Recording Service with Producer/Engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Backed by his band of Blue Drifters, this album was recorded live to tape in the middle of a long year of touring. It's a musical gumbo of influences that showcases the various depths of Crockett's sound.
Charley wrote about the album "The idea of making an album in Memphis has been with me a long time so when I got a chance to record at Sam Phillips with Matt Ross-Spang I jumped on it. Memphis has a habit of getting good, soulful music out of folks time and again and Matt came up in that tradition so it was just natural from the jump. I’ve said it before but my influences stretch from Hank Williams to Bill Withers and my first couple a records were really a mix of the sounds that make up Texas & Louisiana music for me. Blues, Country, Soul, Cajun, Tejano and Zydeco. I wanted to keep all that together. Something with that Gulf Coast sound that’s both urban and rural. Turns out, Sam Phillips was just the place to make it happen. Besides, all those amazing Sun and Stax artists were country folks cutting records in the city anyway so it was just natural for me. We were gonna hire a studio band for the session but Matt watched a few videos of my road band “The Blue Drifters” and decided I should bring them with me. Those boys are all so dang good in the studio and on the stage and since we were already really tight, cutting the record was easy and we did it live to tape in 4 days with a handful of overdubs. I feel lucky to be playing with such fine musicians."
"Lonesome As A Shadow is really important for me. I’d been in the shadows and playing out on the streets for years. That kind of living gave people the impression that I was rough around the edges. Just a gentleman Hobo. I learned a million songs standing out in the street but I’ve also written a million too. This record is me laying all that out there. I’ve got more songs than years in this life to cut ‘em all so I’ve got to get busy! It’s a Texas & Louisiana record through and through but it’s a Memphis Soul record too and I really like that."
He's set to tour the US and internationally this year. He's shared the stage with Turnpike Troubadours, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, John Paul White, Justin Townes Earl, Lee Ann Womack, JD McPherson, and many others.
"My wife was feeling rushed, and I was feeling like we didn’t pack everything, and we were just watching this little screen counting down the minutes until a stranger's car would come and take us to the airport," remembers Greene. "For some reason, I picked up a guitar and started playing this hootenanny thing. I sang the first verse and part of the chorus into my phone and then literally wrote the rest of it in the Uber. It all seemed very appropriate."
Hailed as "the Prince of Americana" by the New York Times, Greene has always had a knack for capturing the human experience in all its messy, emotional complexity, and on his new EP, 'The Modern Lives – Vol 1,' he draws inspiration from some of the great social paradoxes of our 21st century world: that the technology designed to simplify our lives can actually complicate them in ways we'd never imagined, that the most crowded cities can actually be the loneliest places to live, that the constructs meant to connect us to each other can actually leave us feeling more isolated than ever.
Greene's been chasing a sense of authentic human connection through art ever since his teenage years, when he began self-recording and releasing his own music in central California. After a critically acclaimed independent debut, he signed his first record deal and embarked on a lifetime of recording and touring that would see him supporting the likes of BB King, Mark Knopfler, Susan Tedeschi, and Taj Mahal, in addition to gracing festival stages from Bonnaroo to Outside Lands. The New York Times hailed his "spiritual balladry," Bob Weir anointed him the "cowboy poet" of Americana and blues, and the San Francisco Chronicle raved that he has "a natural and intuitive connection with… just about any musical instrument."
Jackie Lee Headshot
While Greene's songwriting chops were more than enough to place him in a league of his own (NPR's World Café raved that his "sound seems at once achingly intimate, surprisingly energetic and unburdened by adherence to genre"), Greene also emerged as a singular singer and guitarist, prompting Rolling Stone to praise his "honeyed tenor" and name him among "the most notable guitarists from the next generation of six-string legends." Between studio albums and his own tours, Greene took up prestigious gigs playing with Phil Lesh & Friends, The Black Crowes, Levon Helm, and Trigger Hippy, his supergroup with Joan Osborne.
"As artists and writers, I think we're all just sort of amalgamations of what we listen to and what we do," Greene says of his omnivorous approach to music. "You play with The Black Crowes or Phil Lesh for a year, and it's inevitable that some of that's going to sort of rub off on you. And I'm grateful for that," he adds with a laugh, "because as it turns out, I really love their music."
'The Modern Lives – Vol 1' may tip its cap to some of Greene's heroes and colleagues, but the sound is 100% his own. Recorded entirely by Greene in a Brooklyn basement, the collection finds him playing every single instrument and serving as both his own engineer and producer.
"It was more like a laboratory than a studio," Greene reflects. "Part of the writing process for me has always been the actual recording, and while I've had fleshed-out demos make it onto albums before, this was the first time I've done the whole thing as a truly homemade, DIY project."
The EP also marks Greene's first release as part of his new partnership with Blue Rose Music, the record label and multimedia company founded by media and tech veteran Joe Poletto.
"It's essentially a venture that's going to allow me to release music in the way I've always wanted to," says Greene. "I've realized over the years that the homebrew aspect of what I do is very important to my aesthetic, and part of that is being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Joe really gets that," he continues. "I have complete and total freedom artistically and musically now, which means I don't have to play by the old rules anymore. That's really exciting to me."
Released from the shackles of traditional music business models, Greene was free to follow his muse in the basement. There, he found that the physical limitations of the space were actually inspiring rather than prohibitive, as they forced him to get more creative than ever with his arrangements and to learn to let go in the quest for sonic perfection.
"You can imagine being in a small Brooklyn basement and dealing with all the outside interruptions," he explains. "I was really put off by it at first, but then I decided to step back and stop worrying. My concept for the EP was this look at our modern lives, and that's all part of it. We're all living in each other's space here, like ants in a giant anthill."
It's a distinctly New York metaphor, and Greene wastes no time in getting to the point on the EP as he grapples with the close quarters and hectic pace of life in his new hometown. The collection opens with the rollicking, funky Americana of the title track, which finds him singing, "Your Times Square looks like a graveyard / I've got a billboard for my headstone and a car horn for my eulogy." On "The Captain's Daughter," he reflects, "I could sleep here on the stair / Who would notice, who would care?"
"I still don't see myself as a New Yorker," admits Greene, "and I don’t think I ever necessarily will. I like it and I enjoy it, but I didn’t grow up that way and I wasn’t born into it, so I feel like these recordings are distinct reflections of living there. There's a little bit of aggression to New York that I think people will hear right away."
Throughout the album, Greene's storytelling offers its own brand of philosophy, one that resists the urge to find easy answers. On "Back Of My Mind," for instance, he crafts a wistful ode to a simpler kind of life, but rather than waxing nostalgic for days gone by, he questions the veracity—even the usefulness—of memory, suggesting that fiction may cloud fact when it comes to looking backwards. Forward momentum, it seems, is the key to survival in our modern world. The banjo-and-dobro blues of "Tupelo" warns of the devils lurking in our past should we dare return from whence we came, while a gritty, distorted cover of Willie Dixon's "Good Advice" concludes that "you keep on going if you're sure you're right." By the time we hit EP closer "Alabama Queen," we find that true freedom in this modern world ultimately belongs to the freaks and weirdos, those unburdened by the expectations and weight of society, those willing to follow their muse in pursuit of their own kind of happiness.
"The main aesthetic here is the discovery of myself," reflects Greene. "The EP takes this very homemade, ragamuffin approach that's not overcooked, and I'm really embracing that. It's got me more excited to make music than I've ever been. When I'm on the road now, I can't wait to get back to my basement and record."
If the open road's got him longing for the dark, noisy confines of a Brooklyn basement, perhaps modern life has finally turned Jackie Greene into a New Yorker, after all.
She’s gone from frontwoman to solo act, to frontwoman again. She’s deftly navigated the weird road that winds from emerging artist to veteran performer. She’s made seven records and racked up countless touring miles. She’s collected shiny things, including an Americana Music Award nomination, multiple Boston Music Awards, and song credits on TV shows Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. Bands like Los Strait Jackets and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys have brought her out on the road with them. Cowboy laureates Steve Berlin and Dave Alvin have lined up to collaborate with her.
As if all that wasn't fodder enough for a compelling rock ’n’ roll narrative, in the last few years Sarah has been married and divorced, become a mother, and gotten sober. It’s a whole lot of moving and shaking for someone who just turned 40, but don’t expect to find her pumping the brakes anytime soon.
“I’m not slowing down,” Borges says. “I’m gonna keep on seeking the next sound, the next song, the next chapter of who I am.”
Headlining that next chapter is a new album titled Love’s Middle Name, due out October 12, 2018 on Blue Corn Music.
There’s never been much daylight between Sarah and re-invention. Even as she’s weathered the inevitable ups and downs in an industry that’s perpetually imploding, she’s stayed the course, creating an impressive body of work one album at a time, personal plot twists and genres be damned.
“Critics have always loved Sarah, but that doesn’t mean they’ve figured out what to do with her,” says Binky, her longtime bassist and best friend of 15 years.
He has a point. Conduct even a quick Google search, and you’ll find that she’s been dubbed everything — from an Americana darling to a roots rocker to a cowpunk to the next Sheryl Crow — by tastemakers as diverse as The New York Times and SiriusXM Outlaw Country Radio.
You could forgive folks for being stumped as to what to call her brand of music. In an era when algorithms and critics alike are hard-pressed to find the quickest way to complete the phrase “sounds like___,” an artist such as Borges raises questions. Does she walk a fine line between punk and country, or does she kick the tar out of it? Is she rock, roots, or Americana? And while we’re at it, what the heck is Americana, anyway?
Sarah’s many things. She’s a driven artist who cranks out finely crafted, character-driven songs with the dexterity of a prolific novelist. She’s a busy single mom who doesn’t have time for your bullshit. She’s an unapologetic stage belcher. And as her bandmates are quick to point out, she’s an incurable road dog who lives for gigs and relishes the long-haul drives in vans full of stinky dudes that said gigs require. Which is all to say that Sarah and her music contain multitudes. Grit, grace, and everything in between.
“I don’t know what to call it most days,” she says, “Lately I just call it ‘rock ’n’ roll.’ Can we just call it that for crying out loud?”
But if you’re looking for a common denominator threading through all of Sarah’s multitudes, or something approximating a label that she might not fight you on, joy fits the bill. Yes, you read that right. Joy isn’t the first thing most fans associate with barroom rock songs about heartbreak, sticking it to bad men, or lusty midnight romps. But for Sarah it’s a palpable force running through everything she does.
"It won’t sound very punk of me to say this, but I feel joy now in a way I've never felt before about doing what I do”, she says. "It's been a long journey, but I’m lucky as hell to be in the driver's seat for this life I’ve been given of playing, writing, motherhood, and sobriety.”
Borges’s unbridled joy at making music two decades into a storied career comes through loud and clear in her latest long player, aptly titled Love’s Middle Name. Her third studio record with the Broken Singles, it’s a muscular 10-song cycle that pulses with gritty, unfettered emotion. As the kids like to say, this record has all the feels.
On “House on a Hill,” Sarah pines for a blue-eyed ex and the home they once shared. But instead of being maudlin affair, the album’s centerpiece track grabs you with raw vocals and a wring-out-your-heart chorus over a no-nonsense drumbeat and driving guitars. On the headshaking “Lucky Rocks,” she bewitches the object of her desire with love spells and sweet somethings, like “Lay here down with me for a while/Tell me a story or a secret/Tell me a lie.” On the hard-charging “Headed Down Tonight,” she’s more than a little bit dangerous, summoning her hookup to follow her off the beaten path into the woods even as she coos, “Watch your step, you know I wouldn’t want you to get hurt” over a thumping train beat. And on the rolling, wistful “Grow Wings,” she asks: “This world is too big for small voices, someone like me singing into the wind what difference can I be?”
For this latest record, Sarah and the gang pointed the Broken Singles van toward the Brooklyn studio of Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, a widely respected performer and producer whose credits include the Bottle Rockets and Steve Earle & the Dukes, and was the founding guitarist for none other than Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Recorded in four sessions with Ambel in the producer’s chair providing banshee-like lead guitar, Love’s Middle Name dispenses with any fussiness. “Roscoe has zero interest in fancy. He likes to capture the beast in its tracks,” Borges says, “That suits me just fine. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so let’s get on with it and melt some faces already.” She may be channeling world-weary characters, but it still sounds like she and her band are having a lot of fun laying it all down.
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